SBA Reauthorization: Don’t Make Small Business Owners Wait Any Longer in Economics and Finance

Small Agency, Big Impact 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is the only cabinet-level agency fully dedicated to supporting America’s nearly 6 million small businesses and entrepreneurs. Despite its size—representing less than 1 percent of annual discretionary spending—the SBA has a tremendous impact on the U.S. economy. 

  • Small businesses with employees constitute nearly 90 percent of all employer firms and close to half of private sector employment.  
  •  In 2020, 2021, and the first half of 2022, 4 million of the total applications filed to start new businesses were for those deemed likely to grow and create jobs. 
  • The application rate for SBA-backed loans and lines of credit roughly doubled in each of the past two years.

Two Decades and Counting 

The last time Congress reauthorized the SBA in its entirety was in December 2000.  

8,049 days  

 G.W. Bush Obama Trump Biden 

That’s not to say Congress has ignored the SBA for two decades. Members of both parties have worked in a bipartisan fashion to reauthorize various SBA programs over the last 22 years. This piecemeal approach has kept the agency operating but without the benefit of a comprehensive evaluation and strengthening of its activities. 

It’s also an aberration from the earlier years of SBA’s history when reauthorization occurred regularly. Between 1980 and 2000, for example, Congress reauthorized SBA seven times, with reauthorization periods ranging from two to five years. 

Accomplishing its Mission 

Reauthorizing the SBA would allow Congress, small business owners, and other stakeholders to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the agency and modernize it by strengthening areas that need improvement and enhancing programs that are working well. 

Citation: Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices survey, January 2022
  • Support Employers and Job Creators 

Small businesses truly are the backbone of the American economy. Reauthorization can position the SBA to better meet the needs of small businesses and, in doing so, support U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. 

  • Strengthen for the Future 

Disbursing over $1 trillion in emergency support, the SBA played a central role in the federal response to the COVID-19 crisis. Reauthorization can ensure the SBA has the resources and structure in place to respond even better to the next emergency.  

  • Modernize for a Diversifying Country  

The SBA is charged with leading the federal government’s efforts to support all small businesses, including those whose owners encounter extra barriers. Reauthorization can pave the way to a more equitable future by making sure the SBA effectively meets the needs of historically disadvantaged communities.  

  • Show Bipartisan Commitment 

Support for small businesses has historically been a unifying feature of Congress. Reauthorization can demonstrate that bipartisan consensus still exists for America’s small businesses. 

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